Friday, February 24, 2006

February 13 - 17, 2006 Medical Team Chronicle

Prep- Oh by the way, can you host a medical team next week?

Kakhoza We saw about 150 people and had to turn away people at the end of the day. We thought we were going to have a riot in the afternoon. People kept crowding in the door and we told them we were going to have to close the clinic if they didn’t cooperate. We saw one little girl who had been beaten in the head by her step mother and now had cerebral palsy as a result of the head injury. She could see only large close objects, could not feed herself, or communicate. The pediatrician encouraged the mother to exercise her little frail arms and teach her to feed herself. She also encouraged her to stimulate her by touching her in a loving way, rubbing her back, arms, legs, etc. She would respond to touch and occasionally to close objects coming towards her. There were many children, as well as adults with sores and wounds, skin conditions, worms, and infections. There were many elderly women that could hardly get around. Many wanted their eyes checked. We did have the eye machine and were able to check eyes, however, we were limited with the number of glasses that we had for lower prescriptions, which is what most of them had. Many just needed reading glasses. There were a few that really couldn’t see and when they were fitted with glasses, you could really tell that they could see the difference. We did not leave there until 7pm; people were waiting in the pouring rain to see the doctors.

Makholweni – This one was very well organized by the action committee. We saw 150-200 people, but we had to turn many away at the end of the day. We saw many sick people, a few that we had to go get because they were too sick to walk. One young lady, that was dying from AIDS, could not sit up, and had to be carried. She had a very high temperature and much infection in her body. We gave her Ibuprofen for the fever and antibiotics for the infection, ORS for the diarrhea. There are several children at this CarePoint that have been identified by Dudu as being possibly HIV positive and we need to have them tested in the near future. One little boy, had a huge gash in his foot that needed stitches. We got stitches and the pediatrician attempted to stitch up the foot, but the skin was so tough and thick the needle bent and she could only get 2 stitches in and had to complete it with staples. The boy screamed in pain as the staples were being placed. In the process of the foot being cleaned prior to being sewn up, some of the solution was splashed in one of the volunteers face. She wasn’t sure if it had blood in it and also, she wasn’t sure if it got in her eye.

Murray Camp- Daran and I missed the clinic here altogether. Today we had to find the mother of the boy whose foot was stitched/stapled yesterday and ask her if she would agree to have her son tested for HIV, which she did agree. We took them to the FLAS (Family Life Association of Swaziland) center in Manzini, and explained to the counselor what had happened. She said that their procedure called for the victim of the accident be tested, not the boy. The counselor proceeded to talk the mother out of having the boy tested. Now what? What to tell this volunteer, we don’t know the boys status, we don’t think that he is positive, but we can’t be sure. That was a very trying day. And its only 12 o’clock.

Moneni – We went for the afternoon, and saw many sick people. There are many little ones that just hang around this CarePoint by themselves. We played little games with them and made them laugh. One little one came into our pharmacy and wanted to play with the medicines, so we made her a balloon out of a glove and she kicked and bounced this new toy for quite a while. She crawled up in the lap of one of the volunteers, just to be held, uninhibited that we were adults and also white. We also had to turn away about 15-20 people that were standing at the gate that we just couldn’t see.

Mangwaneni – We had this clinic in a small church in the middle of the poorest area in Manzini, right across from the trash dump. There were many sick here also. We treated several with sexually transmitted diseases and counseled them to get tested for HIV. One guy had a gash in his head that was open all the way to the skull, that had been stitched and reopened twice already. The doctor cleaned it and steri-stripped it, because there was too much scar tissue to stitch it. This was the smoothest clinic day that we had so far. We didn’t have to turn anyone away today. That was a good feeling.

Ngwane ParkWe saw close to 200 people today. Many little go-go’s that could barely get around, one that we had to help up the stairs, no shoes, feet in terrible condition. I have no idea how she made it home once we helped her down the steps after the doctors had seen her, except that she did have an old stick to help steady herself. As I was making sandwiches for our interpreters, (who worked extremely hard and were indispensible to the team) I noticed out of the corner of my eye, I was being watched by a group of kids on the other side of the fence. I knew that they wanted some of what I was making, so I started breaking up the bread and handing out pieces through the chain link fence. When I was out of bread, there were still little faces staring at me through the fence. That was hard, but I knew that they were going to have some pap and beans in just a little while that the ladies at the CarePoint were cooking. Thank God that Jesus is the Bread of Life and that He never runs out, and we never have to hunger or thirst spiritually.

We had the mayor, a city counselor, and a prince show up for this clinic. When we asked the prince (he said that he was a brother to the king), why he came he said that he had been to doctors here, but he had more confidence in American doctors and wanted a second opinion. We teased the nurse who gave him a shot and asked her if the royal bottom looked different from any other bottom.

Daran had a more sobering experience: he was sitting in the room where the people were admitted and seen by the doctor. Sitting close by was a young girl maybe 16 or seventeen. Her complaint to the doctor: no period for the last 5 months. The doctor asked “Could you be pregnant?” She didn’t know. She was with a new boyfriend. They gave her a pregnancy test. While they were waiting for the results the doctor asked her what she would do if she was. Just resigned silence. The test came back positive. There was a look of sad resignation to the results. The doctor counseled her to be tested for HIV and nutrition for her and the baby.

We had music, dancing, and games with the children outside in the afternoon. That was a lot of fun! While I was watching the children dance, I recognized her face, could it be, yes it was, it was Nqobile. She was dancing, singing and playing with the other children. It was wonderful to see her smile and laugh. She is still very, very thin, but she looks better than I expected after months and months of continuous diarrhea. Nqobile is the 10 year old girl that we attempted to take to the clinic and get tested for HIV before the holidays. Her mother first agreed, then with the persuasion of her sons, decided that we were trying to harm the girl instead of helping her. They convinced her that we wanted to take her and inject her with the HIV virus, and they told their mother that if she allowed us to take her, that they would no longer help her with anything. I expected her to run when she saw me, but she didn’t. She was watching me, I was taking pictures of all of the kids, but really trying to get pictures of her without her knowing. Finally, I noticed that she was interested in seeing herself in a picture, so I took a close up of her and showed her. Her face lit up in a smile when she saw herself in the picture. At least she doesn’t seem to be afraid of me. She did see the doctor and just told her that she had diarrhea and the doctor gave her worm pills. Of course, she didn’t share with the doctor how long the diarrhea had been going on. I am so glad that this story is not over, God can still intervene and make a way, all is not lost! Praise God!

At the end of the day, the last day of the clinics, someone came in with a little boy who was crying in pain and his arm was dangling and the bone was sticking out at his elbow. The doctor said, “this is a fracture, I can splint it, but he needs to go to the hospital to have it set and casted, possibly even surgery.” We went on a search to find something hard enough to splint the arm. All we could come up with was a piece of plaster, and the doctor wrapped it up to immobilize it, and we gave him pain medicine. Then we had to find his mother and bring her to the CarePoint so that the doctor could talk to her and explain that he had gotten hurt playing and that she thought that the arm was broken and he needed to go to the hospital. We took the mom and boy to the hospital and got them into ER and x-ray and then we had to leave. We prayed that night that the mom wouldn’t mistreat the boy for costing her E35 and the trouble of having to go to the hospital.